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During the winter and spring months, tagged fur seals migrate thousands of miles in open water. Scientists are watching this species closely in order to determine the mystery of its population decline, as less...
Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly in...
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The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of...
At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the...

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Lying on the ice with a few friends is not an unusual way to spend time for walruses, who tend to be sociable animals. Their groups can range from tens to thousands. Each individual herd has a dominant male who is established by...
Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters...

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Travel to the ends of the earth—literally—and discover the polar ocean basins. Both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean...
The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been nicknamed “The Last Ocean.” And it’s not just a ploy to get your attention. In...
At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the Arctic and Southern Oceans, organisms have evolved adaptations to cope with year-round cold and six months of darkness. But...
Despite the cold and dark environment, soft-bodied animals like anemones abound under the ice. Using their sticky arms, they grab zooplankton, which can be hard to come by during the long winter with...
The elegant Antarctic minke whale feeds on krill (tiny crustaceans) during the winter. Groups of minke whales often are found on the edges of pack ice feasting so that they can grow thick layers of...
The Encyclopedia of Life and Atlantic Public Media bring us another installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . In this podcast, host Ari Daniel Shapiro relates two close calls with polar...
This new species of deep-water sea cucumber ( Elpidia belyaevi ) was discovered by Census of Marine Life researchers in the frigid waters of the Arctic . Since the 1800s, researchers observed sea...
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) can be found in Antarctic waters during the spring and summer in the Southern hemisphere, where they gorge on their main food source: tiny krill. How do they...
The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been nicknamed “ The Last Ocean .” And it’s not just a ploy to get your attention. In...
"Cold-Water Diving: Going to Extremes for Research" is a video produced by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) that shows the focus needed to do scientific work in cold water. The gear is...
It takes special equipment and many warm layers of clothing to dive safely beneath Arctic sea ice . Ice divers look for holes in a melt pond in order to enter the frigid waters.
At the Poles, Life Thrives Located beside the Shores and Shallows gallery (which highlights different kinds of coastal ecosystems around the world), the Poles area will take you to the ends of the...
To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all...
At a recent staff meeting a Smithsonian colleague mentioned that one of his pastimes this summer has been keeping tabs on the Arctic sea ice. The question that's on many Arctic-watchers' minds is...
Chapter 3: Fragile Fauna Jelly Critters Grade Level: 5-6 Focus: Life Science- Gelatinous zooplankton in the Canada Basin Description: In this activity, students will be able to compare and contrast...
Small amphipods, the blue bug-like creatures, can be seen here catching a ride on this enormous sea spider as it makes its way across the bottom. Many Antarctic creatures, like the dinner-plate-sized...
Ice divers use a quadrat to study the density of creatures living on the underside of Arctic ice floes. A quadrat is a standardized square used to take sample measurements that allow researchers to...
An emperor penguin chick ( Aptenodytes forsteri ) huddles under its mother's legs to keep warm in the long Antarctic winter. Learn more about research on emperor penguins and other Antarctic...
During the winter and spring months, tagged fur seals migrate thousands of miles in open water. Scientists are watching this species closely in order to determine the mystery of its population...
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